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Why Open Science/Research Won't Work, at Least for Now, a Story From Google Reader

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In this second (maybe third) post on why I think Open Science/Research won’t work, at least for now, I’ll try to tell a story of something that happened in the (argh!) blogosphere. This is a real story but I will leave the real names out of it.

It all started in on prominent blog of a prominent Open Scientist/Researcher. S/he used to write about papers, data, grants and small problems s/he would encounter along the way. People would pitch in, give some advice, and life and research would go on its natural path. Open Science/Research was working great!! and everyone was benefiting from it. And the sky was blue and birds were singing.

One day he or she comes with a software problem. Someone in the lab was writing a piece of code in some prominent computer language and there was a problem with the calculations. Great!! time to call the community!! Open Science/Research to the rescue! I saw some people pitching in “this might be wrong, that might be faulty”, everyone contributing to the betterment of science. But wait: how do you know where to fix the code, if there is no code?

It was then that I started thinking, if this is Open Science/Research and this a prominent member of such “community” why doesn’t he or she use some kind of open source repository or give away the code in the blog? It would be much easier to fix it, try it, experiment with it if the code is there, openly available. After a couple of posts and some comments asking for the code, he or she made available the buggy section. And the problem was solved. But I don’t remember seeing the whole code there.

Os if it’s open why not everything is open? If you are a prominent blogger/researcher for the open science, why don’t you know what open science/research preaches? I’m guessing that the person doesn’t know the basic foundation of the “field”, or maybe she or he couldn’t open the code because someone that is not “into” the openness is doing the code … I can go on and on trying to draw scenarios, but those would be only conjectures.

So until a good part of science is not open or there is more understanding of what is Open Science/Research is, even by the proponents, it won’t work. How to change that? I don’t know, you might.Technorati Tags: open science, won’t work

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